and positioning of the side-reactors needs to be optimized; the optimum solutions are indicated in Fig. 7.22b and c, taking RPA = 1. For these three- and five-side-reactor configurations, the AcOH conversions are compared in Fig. 7.23 with that of the RD column, for a range of reflux ratios. We note that maximum conversion achievable in the side-reactor concept is lower than for the RD configuration. Use of a higher pump-around ratio RPA = 5, makes the five-side-reactor configuration approach the performance of an RD column.

The (non-reactive) distillation columns linked to the side reactors can be much smaller in diameter than the RD column and no specially designed trays (e. g., with higher weirs or additional sumps) or proprietary devices such as Katapak-S are necessary. The side-reactor concept is particularly attractive when the conversion requirements are not as stringent as assumed in the MeOAc case study above.

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